What we saw in 2016 was as close to the old Ryan Braun as we've seen since his 2013 PED suspension, and more relevantly, since the injuries that limited him to just 61 games in 2014. Braun finished with a .305 average and 30 home runs, the first time he reached either of those marks since 2012. While he lacks the explosive pull power that made him great in his young age, he has developed into one of the best opposite field hitters in baseball. According to FanGraphs, Braun owned a .446 batting average and .732 slugging percentage to right field, both ranking in the top 10 in the major leagues.
Braun went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in Friday's 6-3 loss to the Cardinals. It's his fourth multi-hit game in his last six starts. The trade rumors swirling around Braun haven't been a distraction at all so far for the 33-year-old, who now boasts a .304/.409/.661 slash line with six homers, four steals, 12 RBI and 13 runs scored.
Braun is not in the lineup Wednesday against the Cubs. Nick Franklin slides into left field in his absence. This looks to be a regular off day for Braun, though his struggles against Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks (2-for-14 in his career) could have been a factor. The veteran slugger has caught fire as of late, recording a .360 average with three home runs and seven RBI over the past week, so expect him back in the lineup Thursday.
Braun went 3-for-4 with a home run, three RBI and a stolen base in Monday's road victory over the Cubs. Braun was hitting just .212 after Friday's game, but with six hits -- including two home runs and two doubles -- over his last three games he now owns a .289/.407/.667 slash line on the season. He clearly has not been negatively affected by the mentions of his name on the trade market of late, and is showing teams that may be interested in his services he still has plenty left in the tank.
The Brewers remain in touch with the Dodgers about a possible trade involving Braun, Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com reports. Morosi also noted that Braun would be a good fit for Los Angeles' NL West rivals, the Giants. The Brewers may be a bit more urgent to trade Braun before July 31: On May 24, Braun will attain 10-and-5 rights, which come with complete control over any potential trade destination. A move to Los Angeles would be a downgrade in park factor, as Miller Park remains one of the league's best hitter's havens. Still, a place in an already dangerous Dodgers lineup -- or even as one of the bigwigs of a somewhat mediocre Giants order -- would do nothing to jeopardize Braun's elite talent. Los Angeles could use another dangerous right-handed hitter to cure its woes against lefties, let alone a long-time star.
Braun (back) is starting in left field and batting third during Sunday's game against the Cubs, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Braun was scratched from Saturday's contest with back tightness, an injury that has plagued him in the past. It's an encouraging sign that the slugger only missed one game, but it's worth wondering if this is something that'll cause him problems throughout the 2017 campaign.
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